Project reviews

Smartphone Bag Project Review

On laundry day, I carry my keys, smartphone and laundry coins in addition to my laundry basket. I prefer wearable hands-free options like small crossbody bags. In 2018 I sewed a So-Sew-Easy Small Cross Body Wallet for use on laundry day. I purchased a larger smartphone in 2022 and it’s too big for my SSE Cross Body Wallet. I’ve kept my eye out for other options and this post will review one from InSewingTimes. This is a Smartphone Bag Project Review.

The link to the InSewingTimes Diy Cell Phone Bag Purse free tutorial is:

insewingtimes diy-cell-phone-purse-bag

For the purposes of my review, I’m going to summarize the basic steps, tell you what I did differently (if anything) and share my general thoughts about sewing the project.


Bags may be a single compartment or have many pockets or sections. Pockets and/or sections help protect the items in the bag from damaging each other and make it easier to find items when they are needed. The InSewingTimes Diy Cell Phone Bag Purse is 4.3” wide by 6” high by 1.4” deep (11 cm wide by 15 cm high by 3.5 cm deep) and features three portrait sections with a fold-over flap. Sewing instructions are provided in the form of a video tutorial and it will be the focus of this smartphone bag project review.

Step 0 Gather Materials

The tutorial doesn’t specify what fabrics to use so I selected lightweight canvas for the exterior and broadcloth for the interior. Quilting weight cotton could also be used. I wear my laundry day bag when I’m taking out my garbage and recycling, so a strap that can be adjusted for seasonal outerwear is more handy that a fixed-length strap. Two ¾” (1.9 cm) swivel clips and a ¾” (1.9 cm) triglide create an adjustable, removable strap. I cut two, 3” wide by 1.9” long (7.6 cm wide by 5 cm long) pieces for hardware tabs and pieced together a 3” wide by 63” long (7.6 cm wide by 160 cm long) strip for the main strap. Two ¾” (1.9 cm) D-rings replaced the square rings in the tutorial. I also used fusible fleece and fusible interfacing similar to those in the tutorial.

Step 1 Line

Cut and fuse the two main panels, two interior panels, two exterior panels, to fusible fleece and fusible interfacing. Sew strap tabs to the interior main panel. Sew the pairs of main panels and interior panels together then fold the two exterior panels in half and sew. Turn the three lined panels right-side out, press and top-stitch.

Main panel, interior panel and 2 exterior panels
Step 2 Sections

Sew the interior panel to the main panel to create a panel with four flaps connected near its middle. The pair of parallel stitch lines forms the bottom of your bag. The flaps form the front and back walls of the three sections.

Sew interior panel to main panel
Step 4 Side Panels

Press the exterior panels for form three sections in each then sew the folds to the edges of the main panels. Next sew the outer edges of the exterior panels to the main panel. The seam allowance for these steps looked like 1/8”(0.3 cm). I tried several times to sew the exterior panels with a 1/8” (0.3 cm) seam allowance but the seam didn’t catch the interior panel all the way along it’s length. A ¼” (0.6 cm) seam allowance worked much better for my canvas and broadcloth bag. Your mileage my vary according to the thickness of your fabrics.

Use 1/4″ seam allowance to sew exterior panels

Sewn the back of the main panel ~ 6” (15 cm) down from the top of the exterior panels. This placement would have caused my exterior panels to bunch up so I sewed them ~5” (12.7 cm) down from the top.

This step was difficult to sew when the layers were pinned together. I’m planning to buy clips like those used in this tutorial. I’ve seem them used in other tutorials, and usually pins and paperclips make effective substitutes.

Step 5 Closure & Strap

The tutorial uses large sewn on snaps. I didn’t have any so I used thick permanent glue to glue on a large magnetic snap. Hook and loop fastener dots or rectangles, snaps, or buttons are other options.

The tutorial uses ¾” (1.9 cm) webbing. I wanted a matching strap so I made a ¾” (1.9 cm) wide strap and sewed one end to a triglide and the other to a swivel snap. I threaded a second swivel snap on to the strap loop.

Strap hardware of finished strap

Here are some photos of my finished InSewingTimes Diy Cell Phone Bag Purse for this smartphone bag project review:

Front exterior view
Flap open
Back exterior view
Side exterior view

This smartphone bag project is one example of a project beginner sewers could tackle. The video was comprehensive with many annotations describing key points with onscreen text. The seam allowance and sizes of the pieces were clearly stated for most of this project, but not for attaching the exterior panels. This may be problematic for beginners. The lack of zippers still makes this a good project for beginner sewers. Other beginner-friendly sewing techniques include: placing the closure after the bag has been sewn, no boxed corners, and using webbing for a fixed strap. My finished smartphone bag is the size I expected it to be. I love how quick and easy it was to sew this bag with 3 sections and look forward to using it on laundry day.

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